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New Jersey teen sues parents, loses first round

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In a recent unrelated (to Cal Poly) story, an 18 year-old girl from New Jersey has chosen to sue her parents over both the remaining unpaid balance owed to her private high school and access to her already established college fund.

New Jersey teen Rachel Canning has, according to her parents, run away from home to first her boyfriend's house, then her best friend's home due to conflicts regarding financial conflicts in the family. According to Sean and Elizabeth Canning, the teen ran away from home after she was suspended from school and therefore revoked of all privileges (incl. car, phone, and the ability to see her also suspended boyfriend). The parents claim that she "'took it upon herself to run away so that she could live her life without any parental supervision and without any rules.'" (CNN)

While Canning remains at her friend's home, her friend's parents are paying for the increasing lawsuit fees (which have been included in the lawsuit itself). And as the story progressed, allegations of abuse surfaced from the NJ teenager. She stated that her parents put her through physical and emotional abuse. Yet, in an investigation by the Division of Protection and Permanency this allegation was ruled out and unusable in the court case.

Nevertheless, the NJ teen's first round to collect the remaining balance due to Morris Catholic High School was denied by the judge as the administrators at the school are allowing her to continue regardless. She has even stated that the peer ministers are rallying funds to help her pay for it, making it that much more unnecessary to grant this charge.

Albeit, Canning has managed to gain a fair amount of attention the case and herself. While some agree that her parents should be financially responsible for her, others have spoken against her actions stating that she is "spoiled" and "just another 'Millennial' acting out". Facebook pages have sprung up in the past 48 hours both supporting her and calling her out for what they believe to be nonsense. One Rachel Canning page, seemingly run by Rachel herself, asks for supporters to rally behind her based on the tagline "Money for education, that's all" posted as the cover photo. Despite the growing fan group, another Rachel Canning group page satirizes Rachel's pursuit and plans to do so with other cases like hers.

Through it all, though, Rachel Canning is sticking to her venture. She says that

I am a very good student. I have no drug problems. I am a good athlete. I work at a job outside of school...[m]y parents simply will not help me any longer...[They] should be required to provide for my support and education until I can stand on my own two feet. In order to do this, I had to take legal action.

And although sites like Yahoo!, CNN, Scholarships.com, and many other news sources are helping her to gain the attention she is surely hoping for, many have been comparing the case with the Texas teen who was relieved of a 10-year sentence after killing four people, and yet another teen who cost her parents $80,000 because of a Facebook comment.

Should she be granted her college funds despite going against her parents wishes?

For updated information on the case, subscribe to the Cal Poly Examiner page.

Other Sources: Fox, Daily Mail (UK), CBS New York, New Jersey News Website

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